real raw kitchen: September 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

What I'm Loving Lately: a recipe roundup

I've been getting pretty busy (read: crazy in the head) lately with the wedding coming up and general work duties so my recipe development has been pretty sluggish. I have made some pretty spectacular meals but I haven't had time to sit down and log them all. This makes me so, so sad. I love sharing everything that I eat with you because it's just so darn good, and when I can't get it to the blog I feel a little bit guilty, like I've been quietly cheating on you all with my delicious new dressing or a sinful dessert.

No fears, though, I have not forgotten about you.

Instead, what I'm doing is showing you some drool-worthy recipes that I've been fantasizing about lately. I still love looking around at other blogs because there are so many incredibly talented (and witty!) bloggers out there. So here is a recipe round-up of some of my favorite blogs:

Fragrant Vanilla Cake. Her creativity is endless and her desserts are seriously amazing. I wish I could taste-test everything ... This pb&j trifle is so delicious looking that I feel like I could lick the screen ..

This Rawsome Vegan Life. These ice cream sandwiches are taken to The Next Level as they are dipped in a superfood concoction and served on a stick. Seriously. I've been mapping out an ice cream sandwich that I can't wait to experiment with and this one made me giddy with excitement.

Coconut and Berries. Check out this Banoffee Pie. I feel like this could go as a breakfast item, a dessert item, and even a celebration item. I love this. It's simple. I'm sure it's delicious. And depending on how you play with the ingredients it could be 801010 as well.

I Spy The Beautiful. ISTB's Raw Cauliflower Tabouli is featured at Detoxinista's website (both are fab blogs, btw) and I think this looks like such an easy and refreshing dish. The ingredients are easy, accessible, and fairly cheap ... seriously, about $5 for this whole entire dish?! Yup. Raw food is awesome.

Katy's Kitchen. This is called the "Sunshine Bowl" and even though it's technically not raw (shhh don't call the raw police!) it looks incredibly delicious and satisfying. I love pesto and avocados and tomatoes and all of them together just seem like a logical next step.

Fully Raw Kristina. Oh my goodness, you guys, her recipes are so easy and delicious. These are so silly and nothing like actual donuts but they look delicious, easy, and fun nonetheless. I can't wait to give these a shot. I think I'll try them with my family when I'm back home ..

Taste Space. A raw Thousand Island dressing ... ? YUM. I love this recipe and I'd love to try it. I'm so happy to be able to share it with you.

I love how simple these are compared to other raw dishes and I also love the flavor. I have my work cut out for me :)

What are your favorite blogs??


Thursday, September 26, 2013

money: eat more fruits and veggies

One of this biggest complaints I hear about eating healthy is that it is "too expensive". This makes me incredibly sad because I know, first hand, how much money I actually saved by cleaning up my diet. Kim Snyder recently wrote about this and so I was inspired to do my own write-up based on real life experience.

I am embarrassed to admit that I used to eat the same things every single day (okay, I still pretty much do). But back then I'd open a packet of pasta to boil, pour pasta sauce from the jar over it, open a bottle of Dr. Pepper, and call it a meal. Every night.

For lunch I'd go to Taco Bell and order the same thing every time. I even had the exact change memorized per Taco Bell so that way I'd have my money ready. (It was 2 cents more at the Taco Bell on West versus the one on Sepulveda ... ) In the end, I'd spend close to $80 at the grocery store for my prepackaged foods and then $20-$30 more on fast food and quick bites.

Oh the horror.

When I first started cleaning up my diet I noticed the changes in my money spent almost immediately. I stopped eating out, at all, and felt a huge difference. I also had cut out soda, meat and dairy pretty easily. What was left for my grocery bill became incredibly affordable, not to mention I lost 15 pounds within weeks just from these changes.

Next, I started buying fruits and veggies at the farmer's markets. I would take $40 cash to the market and vow not to go over that limit because that was my budget. I usually ended up spending about half of it on everything I needed. Instead of pocketing the extra $20 I'd go get even more fruits and veggies for more bang for my buck. This ultimately would get me so much food that I would just go to the grocery store for random items that I couldn't get at the market.

If you're wondering, I shopped at the farmer's market in Brentwood off of San Vicente on Sundays.

I started telling everyone--EVERYONE--about how fabulous my experience was. At this point I was convinced that the most economical diet anyone could have was based in fresh fruits and veggies. Because when we get down to it you really don't need the fancy ingredients in order to have a delicious meal.

Like Kim Snyder mentioned you can also buy things in bulk to save lots of money. For a few bucks I can get whole oats for an entire week for my SO and I. I can also get an entire bag of avocados from Costco for the same price as three avocados at Publix. Spinach and Spring Mix come in bulk at Costco as do nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. My rule of thumb is if it comes in bulk then I buy it in bulk.

I also really loved Trader Joe's when I still lived in California. I could spend $40 on tons of produce and not have to go back for an entire week. It's not all organic but I did what I could with what I had and I feel like that's okay.

Lastly, the best way I save money is I.Never.Eat.Out. Period. I understand, and some people might cringe, but I just rarely do. I am so fortunate to have been raised by a mother that packed my lunch every single day so I have this habit of bringing my own lunch. It really is so much better to me to bring my own food. This way I know what is in my food, I can pick exactly what I want for lunch, and my groceries actually feed me the entire week.

Now, I do eat out on the weekends, occasionally. In our household we work to eat out once on the weekend so we still enjoy ourselves outside of the home but then also don't spend unnecessarily. It works for us!

I get really sad when people think they can't eat healthy because it's expensive. That is just not true. You have to shop smart with fruits and veggies just like you do with packaged foods, and if that means not buying organic then you will be totally fine. Don't even worry!

What money saving tips do YOU have??


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: september 25, 2013

 What a week. That's about the only way I can sum up this past week. I'm usually a champ at remaining calm and getting things done easily, but this week has just been a super "character-building" week. To be clear, I ain't complainin'. I'm incredibly grateful for where I'm at and the stressors I've dealt with are more like indicators of the success I have as a young adult. And still ... what.a.week.

This past week was incredibly simple in the food department and sandwiched in the middle was a surprise bachelorette weekend that was not quite so simple in the food department (yes, homegirl gets down from time to time!). Before that we had to move out of our home for repairs and take our food with us, and then move back in and clean up after the mess. Needless to say I haven't had time to make anything too spectacular, much less take fancy and artistic photos.

As always, I have a list of excuses for keeping things simple. And every single time this happens I feel totally fine with it because my #1 philosophy behind raw food is this: Keep. It. Simple. You probably don't have time for a dehydrated pizza crust slathered with a fermented cheeze and sprinkled with a crumbled nut meat topped with marinated veggies ... and neither do I. So here is yet another completely realistic view of what a raw foodie eats on a typical day (excluding the bachelorette festivities, of course, where I had vodka and real cheese pizza. no judgement here! ever!)

Mango monomeal. On Saturday I was exhausted. I mean e x h a u s t e d. It was like my body knew I had time to rest and so it just shut me down and made me rest. No questions asked. All I wanted was a bowl of juicy mangoes, my pillow, and Netflix. So I scooped out the flesh of 3 large mangoes, crawled into my fluffy bed, and watched a documentary on Netflix. I don't care. It was the best 3 hours of my life.

 Date logs. I made that name up, I don't really know what to call them, except that I know they look like logs. I soaked some juicy medjool dates in water and then peeled and pitted them. I whirled them in a food processor, made nondescript shapes and then rolled them in a handful of chopped almonds. A perfect snack for on the go.

 Blueberry Coconut Cake. The recipe was so simple and so, so delicious. It was an impromptu dish that took minutes to make.

 Turmeric Tahini Dressing. I have a slight addiction to my basic tahini dressing and eat it almost daily. I began to feel a bit ashamed about this addiction and so I tried to disguise it with other flavors. So I added a teaspoon of turmeric to it. And you know what?? IT WAS AMAZING.

Juice on the go. As a true testament to the busy days I've been having, here's a snap of what my food actually looks like in real life. A cup of 3 sliced peaches and a mason jar of green juice. I use my Cuppow lid dutifully and I love it so much that I'm having a GIVEAWAY that ends Friday!! Enter to win :)

Arizona Corn Salad. I bought a lot of corn and so obviously I have to use it up. That's the perfect excuse for my favorite way to have corn.

Green Juice. Hey, remember that unofficial Green Juice Challenge I embarked on a little over a week ago?? Well it's still going strong and my skin is all glow-ey and my stomach is nice and flat .. wedding ready and more importantly .. HONEYMOON READY!! Wheeee

Is there anything you'd like to see up on WIAW?? Let me know! Have a wonderful week, everyone :)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

RECIPE: blueberry coconut cake

This was one of those recipes where I just really wanted to use my blueberries and I really wanted to use my coconut. I didn't know what to do except I knew that I really wanted them together. I kept it simple because I don't like complicated things, in general, but also because I truly believe that the way to make a healthy lifestyle liveable is to make it more approachable. A recipe with a thousand steps or ingredients is definitely not approachable ... ( don't worry, I've got those for you, too, here, here, and here.)

All I could think was "blueberries and coconut .. blueberries and coconut" and so what did I do?? I made an extremely simple coconut cake and just tossed some blueberries in there. Done. I don't regret the simplicity one bit, either. A lot of times the fun in making a raw dessert is by getting extremely creative and making it fancy. However, I don't have time for all that fancy stuff in my daily eats. I wish I did because I love having a fancy meal just like anyone else, but I just do not.. and I think that's okay because it keeps my recipe development in check for you, whom I'm sure have a lot on your plate, as well!

The funny thing about this is that I was so conflicted. I couldn't help but doubt the simplicity of it all. Was it really that easy?? So I made one mini cake and then saved the remaining batter for something else, something I would be sure to fancify when I had a moment and really show off my raw prowess. I put it away, dutifully, in a container and stuck it in the fridge. I snapped some pictures of the cake and then split it with my hubby. He announced that not only did he approve but that he loved it. We didn't quite finish it, so I stuck that in the fridge alongside the extra batter, and told him it was there for him whenever he wanted it. I went about my day only to return home to find that he had eaten the batter and not the leftover cake!! I was so sad. There was so much of it and all of it had been eaten up by my hungry little monster. He seemed so proud, telling me how delicious it was and that he loved it and could have had more ... 

Well ... Now nobody will have more but I feel fully satisfied that a recipe really could be that simple and still be spectacular.

Coconut Crust:
a recipe
2 T coconut flour
3 T water
1 T maple syrup
1/8 t vanilla

Mix everything with a fork until a dough is formed. Put the dough into a single serving spring form dish and press down until firm.

Coconut Cake:
a recipe
1 cup coconut meat
1 T maple syrup
1/8 t vanilla

Place everything in a food processor and process until smooth and a creamy almost-butter is formed. Place the contents into a bowl and fold in the fresh blueberries.

1 cup blueberries
coconut nectar
coconut flour

Put the coconut mixture with the blueberries on top of the crust and smooth. Place in fridge until firm. Garnish with fresh blueberries, a drizzle of coconut nectar and a sprinkle of coconut flour.


Monday, September 23, 2013

SO grateful

It finally happened. The broke bloggers nightmare came to fruition: my computer crashed. It was bound to happen and I was sort of counting down the days until it did. You see, I had a MacBook. A black MacBook, to be exact. If you know anything about MacBooks then you know that the black ones are ancient. When I was in college I had a full ride academic scholarship that was pretty spectacular. As a part of the scholarship I received a MacBook along with a book stipend and on-campus housing and dining.

  I know, it was spectacular.

So I was pretty fortunate to be able to not only have my undergraduate career paid for but to have a MacBook for all those years to follow, free of charge. I knew the time was coming for it to crash. The Mac laptops usually last about 4 years and then after that they just sort of die off. It had passed the 4 year mark by a longshot and so I treated it like a delicate little flower, gently updating everything and keeping everything clean. I used the battery efficiently and even had it replaced once that gave out on me. And then. It happened.

The Spinning Wheel Of Death appeared on the log in screen and never went away. I took it in to the Apple Store and they were so kind to replace the Hard Drive and then explain to me that my computer was so old that it would not be update-able from here on out. So even though I had a fresh hard drive I still could not run anything on it because it was too outdated. I couldn't use any browser for the internet and I couldn't download anything because my ancient system wouldn't allow it. I could not transfer my pictures from my camera (because the iPhoto was too incompatible with my camera) and I couldn't format my blog. I was devastated.

The worst part is that I really didn't need a new computer. I'm a firm believer in not purchasing the latest gadget just because it's on trend for the season (I had the iPhone 3 until very recently only because I paid a dollar for it and refused to pay more than a dollar for any phone thereafter ...) This blog isn't a need and it certainly wouldn't front the cost of the new computer. The new computer would definitely make life much easier and more enjoyable ... but was it absolutely.necessary? Absolutely not.

I bought one anyway. I researched the heck out of the latest models and set a price point I was willing to spend. I found one that was most suitable for me and went back to the Apple Store and purchased a brand new laptop.

  And don't worry about making me feel bad about spending triple on an Apple product compared to other brands. I'm aware of the price difference but I'm also aware of the fact that it meets my needs best and I've never had a single virus or defect until my computer crashed two lifetimes after its purchase date.

So I told the Apple guy exactly what I wanted, asked him a few questions about the operating system and storage capabilities, then handed over the cash to make the purchase. It hurt, big purchases always do. It especially hurt because I'm getting married in two weeks (eek!!!) and so a lot of our funds are going toward that big party instead of other things. So yeah, not the best timing.

But on my drive home, as I looked over into the passenger seat to see my beautiful new laptop wrapped up nicely in the white box, I felt incredibly grateful for it all. This is a lot of money, there is no doubt about that. The cost is not lost on me. But what I had just accomplished became so apparent to me. I am a young professional woman that has a secure job with enough balance and safety in my finances that I could actually afford to purchase a new computer. I have my struggles like anyone else and I certainly have dreams that I cannot afford that I'm still saving up for, but to be able to pull from my savings, confidently, and make this purchase felt just as good as it did bad.

I became very proud of myself in that moment. I am a young woman and I made this purchase intelligently. I did not do it in a panic and I did not do it because Macs are all the rage. I did not do it in haste and I did not do it without first having the funds. I did not do it because some other pretty chick had one and I did not do it because it represents status (God, I hate "status"). Instead, I did it because I needed it as a part of an investment for my future goals and I was able to do so because I've met the many goals I had years ago: to be a young, independent professional woman.

 Damn that feels good.

Do you ever have moments like that? Where you feel yourself slipping into a mini panic because of some scenario you find yourself in, and then when you take a step back to look at yourself you realize, "wow .. this is really actually great." 

I hate that I have to get up at 6 a.m. and I don't get home until 9 p.m. .. but wow. I'm doubly employed even though the economy is really hurting. 

I hate that the humidity is so damn thick that I can hardly breathe but wow .. I am free to roam around in the sunshine as I please. 

These things are not lost on me and I think it's so incredible to be in a position to have the freedom to do what I do. This includes financial freedom. It didn't come easily, either. A lot of sacrifice and compromising came along with it. But I just cannot get over how incredibly good this makes me feel to recognize these setbacks as a great opportunity for appreciation.

What setbacks have made YOU grateful??


Friday, September 20, 2013

A giveaway: CUPPOW (**ended**)

******this giveaway has ended******

Have you heard of Cuppow yet? If you haven't then let me rock your world. Cuppow is a small business with the ingenious idea of creating lids for mason jars to make liquids and snacks more easily transportable. I first heard of this when I was back home visiting with my girlfriends. The conversation went like this:

Friend 1: "Have you heard of this thing called C u p p ooww yet?" (a little hesitation and uncertainty in the pronounciation).
Friend 2: "Oh my gosh yes! It is the neatest! I want one so bad!"
Friend 3: "No I haven't .. what is it?"
Friend 1: "Well it's this lid that you put on top of your mason jar so you can drink out of it, but through a lid. I want one so I can take it with me places without spilling everywhere."
Friends 3 & 4: "Oh that is really neat"

Where was I in this conversation? Sitting back, listening, making mental notes to look this product up immediately, and devising a plan to get one when I returned home. Luckily for me, when I got home I had a message waiting for me from the team behind Cuppow asking me if I'd like to sample their product.

Um, yes.

I promptly got the products in the mail and spent about 2 juices and one snack-on-the-go to realize that I was in love. I feel very strongly about being completely honest at all times--and in fact I'd argue that is one of my biggest flaws--and so I never promote something I don't believe in. This, my friends, I believe in.

You know what's really special about this product? The people behind it. I was in love with the product out of pure product-lust, admiring the way it made my juice challenge easy and the way it made snacking on the go a stress-free part of my very busy days. Then I asked Cuppow if they'd be open to an interview with me so I could write about their product here. The immediate response was "YES" and "how about some more samples for a giveaway?" making me fall just a little bit more for this company.

Before the interview I did a little bit of research, just to see exactly what I was getting into. This product is so spectacular and has such an aesthetic appeal in the advertising sense that I felt like it was probably a pretty neat story on how it went from an idea to major company within a few years. It seemed appropriate, like the new American Dream and something I could stand behind. What I hadn't expected to hear was that it actually started in January 2012.

I spoke with Greg, a member of the Cuppow team, and when Greg said "January 2012" I repeated him, just to be sure. "January 2010? Great .." He repeated himself, just to be clear. "January 2012." I paused, unsure if it was really possible that this product has existed for less than two years.

I mean, mason jars have been around for ages and juicing for years, wouldn't you think this product already existed? 

And that was exactly the thought that came from Joshua and his wife, Christine, as they were chugging their juices. Christine had been making homemade Kimchi to sell at markets in Massachusettes and so, naturally, had loads of mason jars on hand at any given moment. Joshua would use them to take his drinks along with him on his way to work. However, as you may know if you've ever tried this yourself, mason jars do not fit in a cup holder and the wide mouth makes them prime spilling cups more than sipping cups. Christine finally said she'd had enough of the spillage in the car and so they decided to find something online to prevent this.

However, when they searched and searched they found nothing. Naturally, they called up their mechanical engineering friend, Aaron, and asked if this was a feasible design. "Of course!" was his response. And then Cuppow was born. They ordered a sample batch--of a testable size of 500 lids--just to see how it worked. With all the extra lids they decided to sell them, just to see what happened. They hoped they could be rid of them at least by the end of the year. Instead, they sold out within hours. Obviously they were onto something.

The thing that stood out to me the most was really the sense that this company is a self-made company. No outside money was used and so they get to decide the direction of the company and feel out what they want as they go. Now, the Cuppow team consists of Joshua and Aaron, the original founders, and Greg, whom they brought along about a year into the production. What's really incredible is that they aren't even really in an "office", per se. They function out of a shared work space and meet a couple times a week to check in, brainstorm, and grow.

To me, that screams efficiency. 

Because this is a team of three ... yes, 3 ... they are able to really manipulate the direction of the product and make sure that it is something they believe in. As a result, this product is:

  • American made. creating jobs in the US and keeping everything local
  • Environmentally friendly. recycled and long term efficiency
  • Family friendly. BPA, BPS and phthalates  free 
  • Charitable. Each colored lid represent a different charity, hand chosen by the team
I mean ... come on!

This all seems a little incredible to me and it seems that I'm not the only one that has fallen in love with Cuppow; check out the online sensation that is building by the minute.

And now, YOU have the chance to sample their products as well! In this giveaway I am so excited for you to try out two Cuppow lids (a wide mouth and a regular mouth) and a BNTO cup (great for snacking). You can enter in the little gadget below, and share with your friends if you think they'd like a try, as well! GOOD LUCK!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 19, 2013

RECIPE: larchmont bars

When I lived in LA I had a lot of rituals. They were mostly self-indulgent rituals that I took very seriously since I knew I had a time stamp on my time in LA. One such ritual I never missed. Every Friday I would meet a very close friend for lunch at Cafe Gratitude on Larchmont in Hollywood.

I was "getting it out of my system" is what I told myself, knowing that too soon I'd ride off into the humid haze that is Miami. Cafe Gratitude was the place for me. I love Rawvolution and Planet Raw and I loved all the little hole-in-the-wall cafes but Cafe Gratitude was the place I took everyone to show off healthy eating, proving that it could be satisfying, delicious, and pleasant. Even my father enjoyed his meals there!

One of the treats that I would indulge in was this bar--I don't even have a name for it--that was so magnificently simple and delicious that I fantasized about it once I left. Once I arrived in Miami I started making a knock-off imitation bar as a tribute to my time on Larchmont. And thus, the Larchmont Bar was born.

My SO is a very active guy and when he starts eating the foods I make for him he loses a lot of weight. Though I think he looks particularly great he tends to prefer bulk. So I've developed these bars, mainly, for him. I like to nibble on them every once in awhile because they are delicious but they are a little too calorie-dense for me.

And they make me incredibly nostalgic; so there's that.

So a few years later and with some raw food prepping under my belt I've finally written down the recipe for my Larchmont Bars and I'm sharing them with you. The neat thing is that they're very simple and adaptable.

Larchmont Bars:
the recipe
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 cup dates, soaked 20 minutes
1/4 cup raisins/cranberries/mulberries/goji berries
2 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ground ginger
1 t sea salt
2 T cacao nibs, optional
1/4 cup shredded coconut, optional

  • Soak the nuts and seeds ahead of time, for at least a couple hours. 
  • Peel and pit the dates and put them in a food processor. Add some of the soak water and process until a paste is formed. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sea salt and process. Scoop the paste out and place in a large bowl.
  • Put the nuts and seeds into the food processor and pulse until everything is broken down but still chunky. Dump the mixture into the bowl with the paste.
  • To the bowl, add any raisins, cranberries, mulberries, goji berries, etc. I just grabbed handfuls of what I had on hand, at about 1/4 cup each. 
  • Add the cacao nibs and shredded coconut to the bowl, if using.
  • Using a spatula, mix everything until well incorporated and sticky.
  • Dump the contents into a bread loaf pan lined with parchment paper and press down. 
  • Set aside.
Chocolate Ganache:
a recipe
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 T maple syrup (not raw)
1/4 t vanilla

  • First, make sure everything you are using is completely dry. Any amount of water will cause the chocolate to seize. Also, make sure everything is room temperature. If anything is cold it will cause the chocolate to harden a bit and may make it difficult to create a smooth sauce.
  • Place everything in a small bowl and, using a fork, mix everything until well incorporated.
  • Pour the ganache over the nut mixture, above and spread until evenly covered.
  • Place in the freezer for a few hours to harden and then in the fridge overnight. Once everything is firm pop it out of the bread pan and slice to serve.

These are a delicious treat that provides a great boost of protein and healthy fats. Use what you have on hand and forget the rest!

I hope you enjoy these just as much as I do. Make your own variation and let me know what you come up with!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: september 18, 2013

This week .. oh this week ... has been spectacular in the food department. I've given in to my biggest desire to just indulge in all of the sweetest fruits and it has been so much fun. I hate that there is a huge stigma against consuming large amounts of fruit ... when is nature ever a bad thing??

So I've loaded up on fruits and I've eaten them freely and I am loving the benefits. My energy has been higher and more sustained, my mood has been more stable, and (warning: menstrual talk) my period was lighter. Okay, I get it if that's too much information for a complete stranger, but if you've ever had a period then you get it.

I haven't consumed fewer calories by eating mostly fruits and veggies. Actually, I've increased my calorie intake and I've noticed a boost in my energy as a result. I've also noticed increased muscle mass, which was not the intended goal but certainly a welcome surprise (and probably totally shocking to anyone that doubts the raw lifestyle).

I've also started a green juice challenge to prepare for my upcoming nuptials where I am consuming at least 32 ounces of green juice a day. I start my day with the juice by sipping on it throughout the morning and then when I am hungry I eat lunch and then a light dinner like I normally would. Whenever I do this I find that my energy levels stoop in the mornings, so to combat this I've added.. can you guess? ... fruit to go along with the green juice. Problem solved.

I invite you to join me in the challenge! It's completely unofficial but I thought I'd at least share the fun with you. Maybe also throw in some fruit dishes along with it!

Figgy Tart. Figgy goodness with just the right amount of overt fats. Very simple and so delicious.

Green Juice. I've obviously been consuming lots of green juice since I've started the green juice challenge. My SO has joined me in the challenge and has had green juice right along with me. We are going to be the most glow-ey couple on our wedding day!

Fruit. One of the best things about living in Miami is that I get to experience a completely different climate than anywhere else in the country. Here I have starfruit, papaya, mango, and mamey. These are more indigenous to the region in that they naturally grow in humid and tropical climates. So I eat them constantly. I ain't complainin'.

 Starfruit and Coconut. I made a Thai inspired dish that combined starfruit, coconut, and freshly squeezed orange juice. It was delicious and so perfect for the incredibly humid days we've been having. Refreshing, filling, and easily digestible.

 Mamey. I could live off of mamey. I'm not even kidding. For those of you that do not have mamey, think of a tropical version of a sweet persimmon.

 Salad. Of course salad has made the list. It's always some variation of a pound of greens, fresh veggies, some kind of fat, and fruit as well.

Larchmont Bars. I'm so excited to share this with you because it is such a great treat. My SO drools at the opportunity to eat these and I do too. They are perfect energy boosters loaded with healthy fats. They are best used as a sort of fuel for an intense work out where you can burn off the energy. Otherwise, eat sparingly if you can help it.

What do you think?? Let me know if you want to see something in particular up here!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

RECIPE: simple figgy tart

This past weekend I was locked inside my home as the tropical weather took over outside. As a self-proclaimed "mountain girl" I find that there isn't much to do in Miami unless there is sunshine and only moderate levels of humidity. So when the weather is not great I get bored so easily. And then that is when great recipes are born. 

On days like this I'm stuck in my kitchen, staring at the bountiful fresh food, trying to decide how to play with it in a new and delicious way. I could certainly eat the same thing over and over again ... I'm like that. I find a meal and then I stick to it until I can't imagine taking one more bite of it for the rest of my life (which is the exact reason I've forced myself to take a break from tahini because I don't want to ever burn out from that delicious ingredient).

On this particular weekend I was staring at my fresh figs. I've used fresh figs in so many ways and I usually enjoy them blended with bananas .. it's easy, delicious, nutritious, and a classic ... but I feel like blending a beautiful fruit like the fig really is a disservice to the endless possibilities. 

How could I not display such beauty??

I started thinking, "I wish there was a way I could just show off the inside of the fig, almost like a tribute to its beauty" ... and then this came to life. It's quite simple, really, and not an ingenious recipe when you see how few ingredients are actually involved. All credit is owed to the fig, itself. 

That's enough of my weird obsession with fruit, you just want the recipe ..

Basic Figgy Base:
a recipe
1 cup dried figs, soaked
1/2 cup almonds, soaked
1/2 cup dates, soaked
1 T cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
pinch sea salt

Drain and rinse everything that has soaked. Place the dried figs in a food processor and process until chunky. Add the remaining and pulse until chunky. I like my crust to have a little crunch so I allow the almonds to remain fairly chunky.

Figgy Paste:
a recipe
1 cup medjool dates, soaked
4-5 fresh figs
2-3 T water

Place the soaked dates with a little bit of the soak water in the food processor and process until a paste forms. Scrape down the sides as needed. After the paste has formed, add the fresh figs and process until smooth.

Figgy Display:
a method
as many fresh figs as needed
(I used about 10)

Slice your figs thinly and display in a circular pattern, starting from the outside and working your way in. Try to use the most beautifully ripened figs for more figgy goodness.

To do:

  • Pulse the crust ingredients in a food processor until chunky.
  • Dump the contents into a large tart pan and press down until even.
  • Run the dates for the paste in the food processor with a couple tablespoons of water until a paste is formed.
  • Add 4-5 fresh figs to the processor and process until smooth.
  • Spread the paste atop the crust until it is evenly covered.
  • Thinly slice your fresh figs and lay them over the paste in a circular shape, starting from the outside and working your way in.
  • EAT.

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

femme crush: Frida

I first fell in love with Frida when I was counseling in an LA school and they were learning all about her for the week. The more I saw of her the more I just became in awe. Such a powerful, free-spirited, and completely crazy woman. She redefines femininity, culture, and sexuality. She is openly mentally unstable and so, so beautiful. The honesty in her artwork is one I admire. Just perfect.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Green Juice Challenge

It's bound to happen, right? A raw foodie hosting a Green Juice Challenge is just so predictable. But let me tell you how it happened. First, let me share something with you:

I'm getting married.

Yup. In three weeks I will be walking down an aisle and publicly declaring my love for one incredible man that has showered me with endless love and affection and handled me with infinite grace. I'm not a big fan of official ceremonies, traditions or cheesy knick knacks but I'm a fan of love and this seems like a great opportunity to express it.

So naturally, I wanted to prepare for the big day with some green juice. I don't like juice fasts or cleanses and though I've done them successfully I felt like that was too much stress on an already anxious time. Instead, I decided to start each day with 32-48 ounces of fresh green juice.

I was totally psyched about this commitment and the excuse to channel my nervous energy into something "productive". I invited my entire office to join me and you know what? They jumped on board, immediately. So I introduce to you my very first unofficial Two Week Juice Challenge. I invite you to join me!

For each juice I make I use 2 apples, 1 cucumber, 1 lemon, 1" ginger, 2 stalks celery, and 2 leaves of kale. I blend everything in a blender and then strain through a nut mylk bag. I make the process easy by washing and chopping everything the night before and then storing it in a plastic bag in the fridge until the morning. Then when I get up I blend everything with a couple cups of water and strain. That's it!

So for this two week challenge you will need the following ingredients:

Every single morning all you need is to spend 10-15 minutes on this very large juice and you're set. I sip on this giant throughout the morning and then eat a very large salad for lunch when I am finally hungry again. For just one juice you only need to follow the instructions below.

One Green Juice:
a recipe
2 organic apples
1 organic cucumber
1 organic lemon (no peel)
2 stalks organic celery
2 leaves organic kale
1" organic ginger
2 cups water

To make:
  • Wash everything thoroughly.
  • If not organic, peel everything.
  • Chop everything and place into your blender.
  • Add the water.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Over a very large bowl, hold your nut mylk bag with one hand and pour the blended ingredients into the bag with another.
  • Using your free hand, gently squeeze the juice out until there is nothing left to squeeze.

I have had fancy juicers and I've bought the expensive juice but THIS is the easiest and most affordable way I have ever had juice. 

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

I'm so excited for the next few weeks and I'm so hoping you'll join me!!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

RECIPE: tropical fruit pie

I love desserts just like you and if it were up to me I'd be face first in desserts all day long, every single day. But we all know that's just not possible. Not to mention, whenever I eat desserts they fill me up in such a way that I'm not hungry for hours and hours.. and this makes me very sad because I like eating. And I only eat when I'm hungry. 

Do you see my dilemma??

So when I can help it I try to make desserts that are great for digestion and also feel like an incredible treat. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using what nature has given you: FRUIT! Raw desserts tend to be heavy on the nuts and while they make many great dishes they can really create not-so-good-for-you treats that are hard on digestion. So I try to consume only a little bit at a time if the dessert does have nuts (um hello examples 1, 2, and 3) ... 

OR I just try and use fewer nuts in the entire dessert! So here is an incredibly easy pie that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and is so delicious. It's only mildly nutty and is pretty easy to make your own. Don't have mamey? Try persimmons or papaya! Don't want the mango topping? Try apricots or peaches. Or even figs! Play with the fruit you have on hand and make some pretty little things!

Basic Crust:
a recipe
1 cup pecans, soaked
4-5 medjool dates, soaked
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t vanilla
pinch sea salt

  1. Peel (optional) and pit your dates and place them in a food processor. 
  2. Drain the pecans and add them to the processor.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until chunky. Do not over process or it will become too mushy!
  4. Reserve a couple tablespoons of the mixture for a crumble topping, if you'd like.
  5. Dump the remaining contents into a tart dish (I used two small dishes) and press down until evenly covering the bottom and the sides.
  6. Place in the fridge while you work on the remaining ingredients.
Fruit Filling:
1/2 very ripe mamey
1/2 very ripe mango
1 T coconut shreds

  1. Scoop out the flesh of the mamey and process in the food processor until very smooth.
  2. Scoop out and fill your tart dishes.
  3. Next, peel your mango and scoop out the meat.
  4. Finely chop the mango as small as you'd like.
  5. Scoop the mixture and place on top of the mamey.
  6. Sprinkle with coconut shreds.
  7. Using your fingers, crumble the reserved crust mixture over the top.
  8. YUM!
If you do not have mamey (which is probably a huge majority of you, sadly, since it's a very tropical fruit) then wait until Fall and try this with persimmons .. it's a very similar taste! OR you can try this with papaya, instead of mamey, and it will still have the same tropical feel.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: september 11, 2013

Summer is supposedly winding down around a lot of the country (here in the U.S.) but as Miami seasons go we are just in Hurricane Season .. which means it's hotter and wetter than summer. When I first moved here I was incredibly resentful of the lack of seasons and could not understand how people didn't mind getting sweaty all the time ... then I realized the major blessing that Hurricane Season brings each year: the fruit.

The fruit is amazing and unlike any other regular-grocery-store-variety of fruit and makes me dread the days when the heat is milder and the storms have passed. Though the "Winter Season" is anything but a winter and is only 2-3 short months I feel very nostalgic for the tropical Hurricane Season that returns to me my loves: Mamey, Mango, Papaya ... I could bathe in the tropical fruits found here (and I'm sure many other countries).

And that's kinda what I do, I bathe in the fruits for a majority of my meals. I find myself eating exorbitant amounts of fruit and slimming down in the process. It's just such a great time of year.

This past week I had a lot of the same, so here are some recycled pictures. That doesn't mean it wasn't exciting or delicious, because every meal is like an exciting feast for me.

 Mamey. I can't help myself. I'm obsessed. I find myself hoarding this soft fruit in fear that the season is almost over and I won't be able to have any more until next season...

 Fruit. I have a lot of fruit a lot of the time. It's delicious, it's easy, and it's nature's fast food. I'm so sick of this pressure to create something stunning for each meal. Sometimes I just want a bowl of fruit, yo'.

 Fruit pie. And then sometimes I like to get creative and then I make pies like this.

 Salad. Of course. But this time I played with the ingredients a bit. This salad has greens, papaya, green onions, cilantro, avocado, and the juice from half a lemon. So good, so filling, and so easy on the belly.

Mango. Blended mango, chopped mango, sliced mango, mango in salad, mango juice, mango custard, mango ice cream ... you get the picture.

Corn salad. I was at the market and saw an incredible bargain on corn and immediately began dreaming of this salad. It's so easy and one of my favorites.

I love doing these WIAWs because it shows you what a real life raw foodie looks like. It's not fancy. It's not complicated. And it's really not pricey if you don't want it to be. It's simple, fast, easy, approachable, and so incredibly healthy!